Councillors' time sheets to go on the agenda

COUNCILLORS failing to fill in their time sheets are on the agenda for next week's meeting of Calderdale Council Standards Committee.

Chairman Colin Stout accused them of bringing the council into disrepute after the Courier revealed how nine councillors had not completed their activity monitoring forms for at least five months.

Among them were six councillors who were highlighted in 2005 for the same thing.

Councillor Stout (Ind, Brighouse), a former mayor of Calderdale, said he was furious over their lame excuses..

Time sheets were introduced in 2003 as part of a deal, which gave councillors a 43 per cent hike in allowances. They are designed to show the public how long the 51 councillors spend on research, attending meetings and ward work, for which they each receive a minimum annual allowance of 9,713.

The council handed over more than 600,000 in allowances, special responsibility payments and expenses to councillors last year.

It was decided in February 2004 that the mayor should be exempt from filling in time sheets during their term of office. In 2005, it was agreed that reminders should be sent to those councillors who failed fill them in.

At the beginning of August, the Courier reported how nine councillors had not submitted forms for at least five months.

"We receive public money for our duties and we have to be accountable," said Coun Stout.

"Everyone else managed to fill in their activity sheets but now people will just remember these few who did not," he said.

The standards committee, which is made up of seven councillors, three independent members and a parish councillor, will meet at Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday at 6pm.

Calderdale is the only council in West Yorkshire to require such detailed monitoring – Leeds City Council only publishes a record of meetings attended and pays councillors a minimum of 13,137.

* Last month, Calderdale Council won a national award for training council members.